Softly, softly ………

Hopefully, I’m on my audience’s wavelength

It was only when I embarked on my career as a voice over artist that I started to use social media.  Yes, I’d heard of Facebook and Twitter, and I knew what they were, but I couldn’t see how they were relevant to me.

Having to market myself changed all that.  It was obvious that Facebook and Twitter – and a blog, of course! – would be good ways of communicating with the voice over world and generally building my profile.  There were other plus points: following some of my favourite journalists (Kevin Maguire on The Mirror and Jon Snow from Channel 4) on Twitter, or staying in touch on Facebook with people I’d worked with in the past – sometimes the dim and distant variety!

But I didn’t expect an opportunity to land right in my lap.  A couple of weeks ago, an ex-colleague who now works for AgeUK posted a message on Facebook about the charity’s new internet radio station, The Wireless, encouraging everybody to listen.   So I did – but not before I replied asking if I should send her my voice reel.

Cutting a long story short, she very kindly passed on my details to the station’s producer and, to my surprise, I was invited in for a chat – and to record some links.  The station, like many others, is mainly pre-recorded: it plays music from the 50s to the 80s and most of the shows are compiled by computer, with the presenters recording links between the tracks in advance.

It turned out they were looking for a presenter for the weekend editions of the late evening show, Downtown, which plays wind-down music.  So I recorded my links and my try-out show went out last Saturday – after which I had to wait to see if the charity liked what they heard and wanted me to host the programme regularly.

They did – and I now present the show on Saturday and Sunday evenings between 9 and 11 pm, which means a trip to the studio every fortnight to record four programmes’ worth of links.  Although I’ve been on the radio in the past, this is a different way of using my voice: I have to sound spontaneous and chatty but, given the type of music on the show, I also have to tone myself down and can’t be my usual energetic self – quite a challenge!  Not quite Whispering Freda Cooper, but you get the idea ….

And, before you ask, yes, I do listen to my own show.  Not through vanity, but because I need to know how I – and the programme – sound and how I can improve.  Having listened to my first one, I already have a list of things to work on, think about and try out.  It’s been a while since I’ve been on the radio, so I’m a little out of practice.

The Wireless is available through AgeUK’s website, – just click on ‘listen’.  I present Downtown every Saturday and Sunday night from 9 – 11 pm, if you want to give it a try.  But it’s not compulsory.

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